The Ohio State football coach, Ryan Day, and his wife Nina received the STAR Award for their Outstanding Contributions in Trauma and Resilience at OSU’s annual Faces of Resilience event this past week. This event supports Ohio State’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. The Days were honored for their ongoing efforts to promote mental health at Ohio State, including their $1 million donation in 2022 to start the Nina and Ryan Day Resilience Fund.

“Ohio, Columbus, and Ohio State are leaders in many medical fields, and our family is proud to be part of this movement,” Ryan Day said during their speech. “The impact here is setting an example for others across the country.”

The Days have been strong supporters of mental health since Ryan became head coach in 2019. Ryan lost his father to suicide when he was 9, and Nina has dealt with anxiety most of her life. They feel it’s important to use their position to help the community, especially because of their personal experiences.

“When Ryan became head coach, I asked him what we should support,” Nina Day said. “We wanted to back something we felt strongly about, something we could truly live. I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life and suffered in silence because no one talked about it. I wanted to ensure my children and others wouldn’t suffer in silence. Losing Ryan’s dad was hard, and we didn’t talk about it until recently. This journey has been therapeutic for our family.”

The Days have also focused on mental health within the Ohio State football team. Players like Harry Miller and TreVeyon Henderson have shared their struggles, and Ryan Day has noticed players becoming more open about their issues during his time as coach.

“In the last five years, more players are comfortable talking about their struggles,” Ryan Day said. “Within the team, we discuss building balance with faith, family, and friends. Trust in these relationships helps. The environment at Ohio State, supported by Gene Smith and many others, fosters this openness.”

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine also spoke at the event, praising the Days for their impact on mental health awareness in Ohio.

“When someone as high-profile as Mr. Day supports mental health and backs it with their own money, it makes a huge difference,” DeWine said. “Their actions increase awareness and encourage open conversations. Their example helps tackle the stigma and advances research and necessary efforts.”